THE OPEN

Phil Mickelson hints at swift Scottish Open return

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson has hinted he’ll be making a swift return to the Scottish Open next year after comfortably missing the cut at Royal Birkdale.

The 47-year-old, who battled so memorably with Henrik Stenson for the Claret Jug at Royal Troon last year, bemoaned a lack of links preparation as he posted ten-over-par (73-77) for his two rounds at the Open.

Mickelson opted not to play last week at first-time Scottish Open host venue Dundonald Links, saying he has no interest in learning new layouts every year. But with the 2018 staging of the Rolex Series event going back to 2015 venue Gullane, it already sounds very much like he’ll be teeing it up there.

“Playing a week before at the Scottish is very helpful, and it may have made a difference,” he said. “It's hard to say but it further proves that when I don't play the week before a major, I’m often not as sharp and ready to play as I need to be.

Phil Mickelson1

“It just takes a little while to get used to. When you play a few rounds competitively in tournament conditions, like the Scottish Open provides, it gets you ready.”

In explaining what in particular went wrong at Royal Birkdale, Mickelson added: “I didn't adjust quickly to how far the ball was going. I didn't adjust to the ground or how far the ball was running. The shorter pins are deceptive to your eye. They look further away and they take some getting used to.”

Mickelson, of course, has good memories of playing in the Scottish Open. Last week was only the third time he's missed the event since 2003 and he won at Castle Stuart in 2013 before completing the Scottish double at Muirfield at the Open a week later.

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